Managing Lives: Corporate Women and Social Change

By Sue Freeman Joan Mendelson | Go to book overview
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2
Career Planning

Women find work satisfying. Motivated less by money than by the challenge and stimulation that work can provide, the women interviewed derive pleasure from the nature of the work itself. Work has long been recognized as contributing both pleasure and pain to individual's lives. A source of conflict and frustration, alienation and even illness, work is nonetheless a staple of human existence for far more than its pragmatic value. It functions as an existential mainstay, a source of meaning and mastery that holds psychological implications for one's sense of self. This is as true for women as it has been for men.1

Positions requiring responsibility and granting autonomy have special attraction and staying power for many people, including the women in this study. They thrive on jobs that allow them initiative and independence. Many of the women depicted here hold professional positions without the customary credentialed preparation. Passengers without tickets, these women face internal and external obstacles as they pursue their unfolding careers.

In the first chapter we saw women take unconventional routes to business and overcome the uncertainties that can accompany the absence of official credentials.2 Formal preparation focuses on more than work's substance, however. Skill development is balanced by attention to the structure of a career. One learns about the evolution of career paths and strategies for their promotion. Thus, finding satisfying work is but one step. For satisfaction to be sustained, job changes and mobil-

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